There’s a place for everyone on Sesame Street.
The classic kids show has officially introduced Julia the Muppet, who lives with autism. In an effort to destigmatize the disorder and bring about more awareness, Sesame Street executives are calling attention to the neurodevelopment affliction that affects 1 in 68 children, according to the CDC.
Exec Sherrie Westin spoke candidly on the effort:
“Families with autistic children tend to gravitate toward digital content, which is why we created Julia digitally. We want parents and children to understand that autism isn’t an uncomfortable topic.”
Julia the Muppet also appears on the ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children’ app, which is an initiative Westin says will “create greater awareness and empathy.”
This is especially necessary, said Senior Vice President of U.S. social impact, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, because children with autism are reportedly five times likelier to be bullied. “Our goal is to bring forth what all children share in common, not their differences. Children with autism share in the joy of playing and loving and being friends and being part of a group,” said Betancourt.
Julia is long overdue, but we’re so excited to meet her. Read more about the truly amazing work Sesame Street is doing here.